If the UK is to achieve its Net Zero targets by 2050, the way we produce, use and store energy has to change. Our power, heating and transport systems must decarbonise if we are to achieve this target.
One solution to this is to use hydrogen generation powered by offshore wind, otherwise known as green hydrogen. This will enable us to store renewable energy much more easily, allowing the industry to fine-tune output to meet consumer demand.
ORE Catapult is part of a consortium that is exploring ways to establish a national hydrogen highway network, integrating land, sea and port. Led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), the two-year programme – formerly entitled Land, Sea and Port Integration of a Smart Hydrogen Highway and known as Maritime Hydrogen Highway for short – will explore energy diversity research; trial hydrogen power generation for vessels based at the PLA’s Denton Wharf in Gravesend, Kent; establish the business case for back hauling hydrogen into central London; ship design; and health & safety requirements.
The programme is Government-backed under the Smart Maritime Land Operations Call, a Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) initiative supported by the Department for Transport (DfT). It will benefit from £1.3 million towards the £2.1 million total cost.
By covering the options for generating hydrogen offshore, shipping this hydrogen to shore and then transferring it to land-based terminals, and its use in urban settings, the project covers the full life cycle of hydrogen in a maritime context. The involvement of HSE ensures that safety and the regulatory environment are considered from the very beginning, and at every step of the development of a maritime hydrogen business model.
The Catapult is one of eight partners involved in the programme alongside PLA including OS Energy, University of Strathclyde, University of Kent, Solutions from HSE, University of Birmingham and Newcastle Marine Services, supported by a number of other ports, operators and trade associations.
As part of this programme, ORE Catapult will bring insights from its “Solving the Integration Challenge” paper highlighting the importance of hydrogen as a vector for the extra 50GW of offshore wind that the UK Government is targeting by 2030, to meet the Net Zero challenge and improve energy security.